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Nick: Hey everybody. Nick Bielawski here from the PGA. We’re here talking with Hayden Yesberg who is a student who’s just finished the 2019 PGA Performance Program. So we’re just going to have a bit of a fireside chat if you will, and just talk about Hayden’s upbringing, how he came to the performance program and the key learnings that he got from year 2019 so Hayden, thanks for chatting with us today mate. Tell me about your background before you actually came to the Performance Program. Where are you from? What was your golf like? That sort of thing.
Hayden: Originally coming from Queensland, I’d finished high school and looked to get into a PGA traineeship and had actually tried but was unsuccessful initially. And so for a couple of years was not sure where I wanted to go with my golf, just working full time pretty much. And then I guess from there the stars aligned for me to be able to take the leap and come down here and join the program.
Nick: What sort of jobs were you doing before you actually came down? You said you were working full time. Were you working in golf or outside of golf?
Hayden: Pretty much all outside of golf. I’ve done things from personal training to laboring to filling shelves at supermarkets, anything, any of that sort of stuff. Really.
Nick: Yeah. So how old were you when you first started playing?
Hayden: I believe I was 11 years old when I first picked up a club. So it’s been about 10 years now I’ve been in the game.
Nick: So even when you were working full time, did you find the golf fire was still burning, so to speak?
Hayden: Yeah absolutely, I still love playing in all amateur events that occurred, whether it be just a Sunday comp or pennants, or club champs, whatever it could be, I would love to get stuck into.
Nick: So what made you decide to come down to Melbourne for the Performance Program?
Hayden: I think I was a little bit, I knew I wanted to do something in the golf industry, but was a little lost as to what it was I wanted to do and what was actually out there. And so I felt that that was probably the best move for me to make as far as getting some direction and helping myself improve along the way.
Nick: So I guess you moved down from Queensland to Melbourne this year, 2019. What were some of the challenges that you experienced early? I guess you were away from home, so to speak, away from the parents away from support. What were some of the challenges you experienced early?
Hayden: Yeah, like you mentioned, first time out of home and moving interstate for the first time ever, friends and family I knew I could only reach them over the phone. I wasn’t able to drive and see them if need be, which was a bit of a culture shock really. And then coming down to a new city was interesting. Familiarizing myself with the city and my surroundings…
Nick: Shopping in new supermarkets and driving on new roads.
Hayden: Yeah, just little things, it made a surprisingly big difference.
Nick: Did you know anybody in Melbourne before you came down or do you only have acquaintances or?
Hayden: Yeah, any people that sort of knew of, no close friends or anything like that.
Nick: Yeah. Yeah. So throughout the year, was there a moment in particular where you all of a sudden felt comfortable? Or was that more of a gradual process over a number of months?
Hayden: I think as far as getting comfortable and getting comfortable within my game and that sort of stuff, it was pretty gradual and that grew and grew throughout the year. But as far as being comfortable with joining the program and knowing I made the right decision, I feel like I was pretty comfortable with that straight away. As soon as I came down and got started I knew I was in the right place.
Nick: And correct me if I’m wrong, you didn’t actually have much of a coaching influence before you came down, did you? You didn’t really have that many lessons or coaching sessions from PGA professionals beforehand?
Hayden: No, not at all. I’d had five or six coaches over the time that I’ve been playing and yeah, very infrequent lessons. Yeah. Yeah so I certainly wouldn’t say I had much coaching.
Nick: So I guess your golf ability before you got here was kind of homemade as you said, some infrequent lessons, but really just your own natural sporting ability and your own ideas on golf just kind of blended into one.
Hayden: Yeah, that’s right. Yes. Yeah, pretty much. Not far off self-taught really. Just I’d get a lesson and not have any guidance from there on and it’d be pretty hard. So I was just, found a way of do my own thing and make that work for the most part.
Nick: It’s a good skill to have I think.
Nick: So tell us, what did you enjoy the most about the Performance Program?
Hayden: I think there was a lot of, obviously coming down here and having incredible facilities for practice and learning was awesome. Just having that at your disposable day in day out was… Yeah, it was just unreal and obviously nothing I’ve ever had before. Obviously I’ve had the chance to make some good relationships with people with you Nick, and all the other participants this year as well as people like Scott. Yeah, it’s been just a really good year.
Nick: Just to interject, did you enjoy or grow to like the week to week grind of training or was that, how did you feel about that? Was that something that you felt you were able to get yourself up for? Or was it monotonous at times? Because coming from Queensland where the weather’s always pretty good Melbourne we, it’s not snowing here, but we have some cold days and some long arduous torturous winters. How did you find the day to day aspect of having to get yourself up for training and playing?
Hayden: I think at the start it was very… It wasn’t terribly difficult because I was very hungry to get stuck in and improve and… Yeah I just wanted to get better. But throughout the year, especially coming to winter, that’s a long time to stay hungry and stick with the day in day out grind. But-
Nick: It’s where the improvement comes from though. And it’s one of those tough ones where it might be winter or might be cold outside, but for the most part, all the important things that we’re trying to do, the tournaments, maybe it’s the applications for trainee programs or tour school or whatever it is. They’re always just around the corner. And if you take your foot off the pedal, so to speak, in winter, you get a bit lazy, then you find you’re not going to perform well when it actually counts.
Hayden: Yeah. Got to keep that angle in mind and remind yourself why you’re doing it.
Nick: Yeah. Yeah. That’s a really good point. So tell us, what was some of the key learnings that you’ll take with you moving forward?
Hayden: I think because I’ll be heading into PGA traineeship, I think a lot of it will be just based around having learn and observe what it means to be a professional in the industry. Having been surrounded by just top class professionals throughout the year has been a really good experience looking into where I want to go in the future and I think they’ll be some valuable lessons I’ve learned. Just observing those around me.
Nick: Do you think throughout the year you really learned to manage your time well?
Hayden: Yeah, for sure. I think that also at the start of the year came back to being out of home for the first time. Just finding time for the little things. You just didn’t have to find time for it before, it was just… Yeah, I think time management has definitely improved and yeah, I’ll definitely be better for it in the future.
Nick: So in a golf sense, is there anything that really sticks out for you that you need to do to keep improving? You said maybe, just to maybe prompt you a little bit, is work on the short game, is it putting, is it playing more tournament golf, working on your swing technique?
Hayden: I think, well, all of the above really. But I think just based on recent experiences, I think tournament play would be a big thing. Just getting your game to be able to cope under any sort of pressure. Yeah. I think, yeah, because I’ve learned that you can be swinging not too bad, but still not play great.
Nick: Struggle. Struggle with the score. That’s one of the, it’s not a trick per se, but it’s one of the challenging things, isn’t it? To be developing your game and working on things and still be able to perform and manufacture a score as go.
Hayden: Still make a number.
Nick: You’re never in a situation where you can afford to take three months off and just rebuild things and work on things. It’s a tournament based game, isn’t it? So you’ve got to be playing in tournaments, doing the best you possibly can and still developing your game. And I think now as you move through the professional ranks, as you said earlier, going into the trainee program, that’s one of the big things, isn’t it? You’ve got to be able to put a score on the board every week and still work on your game and get better and manage all the other stuff that’s going on.
Hayden: Yeah, for sure. Yeah, absolutely.
Nick: Okay, so I think we’ll up on that note. So Hayden, thanks very much for your time today and best of luck in the future.
Hayden: Thank you very much.